A Brief History of Tomorrow

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9781582341088: A Brief History of Tomorrow
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A fascinating look at the future, as you've never seen it.

Ten years from now, will we have a tiny personal computer surgically inserted in an earlobe, capable of connecting to phone lines and the internet? Fifty years from now, will atomic-sized robots replace surgeons? A hundred years from now, instead of taking the bus, will we simply teleport to work? It all may sound like impossible science fiction, but fifty years ago, so did walking on the moon. Journalist Jonathan Margolis interviews leading thinkers in such fields as genetics, medicine, neurobiology, quantum physics, robotics, computer science, and space travel to explore where we're going, and what it will look like when-and if-we get there.

Beginning with famously flawed past visions of the future-among them H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates-Margolis examines many of the strange and tempting futures that may lie in store for us. Politics, society, religion, and work are all destined for great changes. What might they be? How will they come about? Thought-provoking, amusing, and absolutely original, A Brief History of Tomorrow is a deliciously compelling look at something we all spend a lot of time contemplating: the future.A fascinating look at the future, as you've never seen it.

Ten years from now, will we have a tiny personal computer surgically inserted in an earlobe, capable of connecting to phone lines and the internet? Fifty years from now, will atomic-sized robots replace surgeons? A hundred years from now, instead of taking the bus, will we simply teleport to work? It all may sound like impossible science fiction, but fifty years ago, so did walking on the moon. Journalist Jonathan Margolis interviews leading thinkers in such fields as genetics, medicine, neurobiology, quantum physics, robotics, computer science, and space travel to explore where we're going, and what it will look like when-and if-we get there.

Beginning with famously flawed past visions of the future-among them H.G. Wells, George Orwell, Arthur C. Clarke, Stephen Hawking, and Bill Gates-Margolis examines many of the strange and tempting futures that may lie in store for us. Politics, society, religion, and work are all destined for great changes. What might they be? How will they come about? Thought-provoking, amusing, and absolutely original, A Brief History of Tomorrow is a deliciously compelling look at something we all spend a lot of time contemplating: the future.

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Review:

What will the future be like? Throughout history, many have tried to answer this question but few have had much success. Now, with journalistic clarity and wit, Jonathan Margolis in A Brief History of Tomorrow analyses the few successes and numerous failures of past futurologists (so to speak), then explores whether modern-day predictions about the future are any more likely to be correct.

The history of futurology is so littered with amusing misses that Noam Chomsky was led to remark: "Perhaps the most plausible prediction is that any prediction about serious matters is likely to be off the mark except by accident". Nevertheless, as Margolis explains, more than a few bright sparks in today's high tech industries manage to earn a living--and a good one at that--keeping their bosses appraised of the possible courses of world history.

But are these modern-day seers likely to be any better at predicting the future than you, me or Nostradamus? Can trends really be distinguished? In a hundred years' time, will we be laughing at the ridiculous fad that was the Internet as we tuck into our healthy breakfasts of fatty bacon and fried eggs (dietary fibre having been identified in 2020 as the major cause of bowel cancer)? Or will we, at last, be wearing those silver one-piece jump suits so beloved of 20th-century film-makers, making our way to work in flying cars (how long have we been waiting for these?), and cryogenically preserving our heads in the hope that future surgeons will be able to re-attach us to healthy bodies? No one knows, of course, but if you'd like to indulge in a bit of no-holds-barred speculation, A Brief History of Tomorrow is an undemanding and entertaining primer. --Chris Lavers

From the Publisher:

' Rich and well-rounded' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
' Rich and well-rounded' INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
Unless something really remarkable happens like Armageddon or a dot.com company declaring profits as we enter the year 2001, things will stay pretty much as they are: images of Princess Diana will still appear in magazines everywhere, the railways will still use rolling stock built in the sixties, and old men driving cars will still inexplicably wear hats and gloves. But behind the façade of normality the future is taking shape.

With Sam Goldwyn’s famous saying ‘Never predict anything - especially the future’ firmly in mind, Jonathan Margolis inoculates himself against the pitfalls of prophecy with a chastening look at the history of futurology. Then he takes courage in both hands and sets out to describe the world that’s yet to come in the fields of medicine, mind, spirit, home, food, work, leisure, politics, war, society, transport, environment and space.

'A BRIEF HISTORY OF TOMORROW is a classic instance of book-length journalism: well-researched, occasionally thoughtful and incessantly entertaining' SPECTATOR

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